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Subject: Disappointed with Fantasy Flight's Stewardship of BattleLore rss

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Matthew Popielski
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Fantasy Flight Games has a track record of doing a fantastic job of republishing, expanding and supporting old or out of print games that people really want to play. Some games that come to mind include Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, DungeonQuest, Nexus Ops, Merchants of Venus, and NetRunner. Not only did they bring these back in print, but they enhanced them, providing additional options for play.

BattleLore is a different story. When Fantasy Flight bought the game from Days of Wonder I had high hopes of new races, preprinted maps, and other stuff that would more fully enhance and expand the BattleLore game system. It seemed like a perfect match of game and publisher, but it hasn't really turned out that way. In fact since Fantasy Flight took ownership four years ago there have only been a couple notable expansions - Heroes, Dragons, and Creatures (Although two of the three creatures were available before making the Hydra the only really new thing in that expansion). Other expansions are really just more of the three races - Humans, Dwarves and Goblins. Why no new races? Why no new preprinted maps? I could be wrong, but I would think Richard Borg has a few more tricks up his sleeve with this incarnation of the Commands and Colors game system.

It seems to me that there would be a lot of incredible opportunities to make this game systems experience so much richer with expansions. I don't understand why the support for this game has been lackluster from the publisher. As a fan of the game it is disappointing to see how this game has fallen off the radar of the gaming world.

Honestly there could be some very valid business or creative reasons for the lack of support. I just don't know what they might be. If anyone has any explanations I'd really like to here from you.

Thank you.

Matt


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Matti Saarenketo
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I heard somewhere that Richard Borg saidthat they simply have better things to do with their time: Star Wars sells better and that's why they focus on what sells.
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Chuck Reed
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I am not sure as weith anyone else, but I am going to play Battlelore for the first time this weekend...I have been looking forward to it for a few weeks now....I purchased it thru the marketplace here and finnaly have a weekend to play!


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Adam Clausing
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This is the story as I've seen it through all the forums...

When Days of Wonder was producing the game, they had a factory making minis at a very low cost. This factory just wanted to get the initial business for the short time. So Days of Wonder produced/printed a bunch of base games and got a great deal... probably a very profitable game for them initially.

Fantasy Flight ends up buying the Battlelore brand from Days of Wonder and realizes that to produce the same base game would be much more expensive due to the rising costs of the mini production.

Fantasy Flight decides to utilize the Game of Thrones license along with the Battlelore brand to create a whole new game instead of promoting Battlelore. This was a marketing decision to boost sales/profit.

Fantasy Flight produces some expansions for Battlelore (Heroes, Creatures, Dragons and other human/goblin army builders). I believe many of these were alredy in development at Day of Wonder... could be wrong.

Fantasy Flight refurbishes all the remaining French copies of the base game and expansions to get rid of some inventory.

Battlelore and many of the remaining expansions go on sale at the FFG holiday sale at rock bottom prices. Inventory is now all gone.
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Sander Sijssens
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disappointed indeed, just two more races and a campaign book and I'm happy FFG, and yes I'm to lazy to make up my own.

More stuff is also acceptable but please make it compatible. I didn't spend all that time painting for nothing
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Matt Shinners
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I honestly can't even tell if this is a new post or a copy of an old post.

This topic comes up every few months, and it's always exactly the same.

-Edit- Not to rag on you, OP. It would help if FFG made an official announcement. But still, the topic has been beaten to death.
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George Husted
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Where are the elves?
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Matthew Popielski
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MattShinners wrote:
I honestly can't even tell if this is a new post or a copy of an old post.

This topic comes up every few months, and it's always exactly the same.

-Edit- Not to rag on you, OP. It would help if FFG made an official announcement. But still, the topic has been beaten to death.


No problem. I played it a few times recently and was wondering whatever happened to it. With all the re-release games and expansions in FF game catalog, it is hard to imagine that new expansions for BattleLore wouldn't be profitable as well. Of course, if the base game is out of print it makes business sense not to support it.

I think this keeps coming up in the forums because it is a great game with a very expandable game system. It was bought by one of the biggest boardgame publishers, one that is known for republishing and expanding great old fantasy boardgames, and they have let this one wither on the vine. If Hasbro bought it and did the same thing, no one would be surprised.

As far as a business decision, if they can sell Battles of Westeroes for $80 and make a profit, why can't they sell for BattleLore $100 make money? I am sure there is a good reason for the atrophy, I just wish it made business sense to keep it going.
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Aaron Morgan
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matt769 wrote:
As far as a business decision, if they can sell Battles of Westeroes for $80 and make a profit, why can't they sell for BattleLore $100 make money?


One has about 140 figures, the other about 220.
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Scott Lewis
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EitherOrlok wrote:
matt769 wrote:
As far as a business decision, if they can sell Battles of Westeroes for $80 and make a profit, why can't they sell for BattleLore $100 make money?


One has about 140 figures, the other about 220.

Plus, I think Battles of Westeros has less different sculpts, which I understand does have some impact on the cost.
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Michael Wheal
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for basic troops, maybe.. But when you add in all the different BoW leaders - it works out around the same number of types.

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Andreas Krüger
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They could have made an effort to reduce the number of individual sculpts and/ or number of figures necessary. They could have taken some part of the base game out and made it an expansion. They could just have raised the price.

But not doing all of this and instead producing X-Wing was obviously more profitable. You need manpower and funds to make a game, so you want to make only very profitable ones.

Sad but true.
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IMO, FFG did OK for the first few years:

- Human / Goblin / Dwarf bulk packs are much better value than the DoW expansions, but should have been pre-glued to bases.

- Dragons and Creatures took BattleLore were an awesome expansion (esp, Hydra!), but should have been combined like the Human / Dwarf / Goblin packs and not so pricey.

- Heroes was an interesting idea, but largely duplication of the War Council and overly pricey.

- No custom / random Map / Terrain generator to complement Call to Arms.

- No Undead / Demon / Elf expansions.

Nevertheless, getting a fully-expanded BattleLore under FFG was easier than under DoW, tho additional army expansions would have been very nice to have.


Where FFG really let things down was taking BattleLore out of production for Westeros. I don't understand the logic there.
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Dan Cavaliere
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Subido wrote:
I heard somewhere that Richard Borg saidthat they simply have better things to do with their time: Star Wars sells better and that's why they focus on what sells.


Even if they are focusing on what sells it would be nice for them to support a game they picked up.

In other words, instead of just picking it up and selling off what they acquired maybe they could put out an FAQ or amended rule book?

Then again, this is yet another thread amongst many on here that is falling on deaf ears soblue
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Scott Lewis
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
But not doing all of this and instead producing X-Wing was obviously more profitable. You need manpower and funds to make a game, so you want to make only very profitable ones.

This may well be true, but part of the focus on Star Wars may be due to the license. I am guessing that FFG owns outright the rights to Battlelore now, so there's no "hurry" on using it. With Star Wars, they are just licensing it, and so they may be in a time "crunch" (even if it's a few years or so) to get games out in that window.

I don't know the whole story, of course, I'm just speculating.
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Andreas Krüger
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Yes, there is still some hope that something happens later.
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Licensed games like Westeros and StarWars have a clock and a fee. FFG has to recover their fees.
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Dale Hurtt
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GrauGeist wrote:
- Human / Goblin / Dwarf bulk packs are much better value than the DoW expansions, but should have been pre-glued to bases.

That increases the costs more than you probably think. They did the same with Battles of Westeros.
GrauGeist wrote:
- Dragons and Creatures took BattleLore were an awesome expansion (esp, Hydra!), but should have been combined like the Human / Dwarf / Goblin packs and not so pricey.

Why do you think it would be any less pricey? The savings on packaging? The problem with combining it is that it pushes the price point of an expansion up too much. People remember how much they paid for the original game.
GrauGeist wrote:
- Heroes was an interesting idea, but largely duplication of the War Council and overly pricey.

Duplication? Look at the number of cards for Heroes. War Councils don't have miniatures. Are we talking about the same thing here?
GrauGeist wrote:
- No custom / random Map / Terrain generator to complement Call to Arms.

That wasn't part of Borg's design.
GrauGeist wrote:
- No Undead / Demon / Elf expansions.

See all the previous explanations about cost.
GrauGeist wrote:
Where FFG really let things down was taking BattleLore out of production for Westeros. I don't understand the logic there.

See all the previous explanations about there being a clock on their investment for licenses. FFG does not have an unlimited amount of money to invest. And they probably have no timeline on use of the BattleLore licensing.

By the way, FFG is not doing that great on the FAQ front for BoW either. They have a FAQ, yes, but it is outdated and the FAQ itself has clarifications made on boards, in email, etc. scattered across the internet. The same complaints about the FAQ are posted over there right now. Maybe not as bad, but still there.

We have a vibrant tournament going on right now and our Vassal module looks far better than the one for BoW!
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@Dale:

The gluing is a PITA, especially as regular plastic glue fails.

Less packaging, less administration for an all-in-one expansion. If the original game was underpriced, that's a different problem.

Yes, it's a duplication of the concept of different "people" providing discrete benefits. Useless and pointless expansion, AFAIC.

So? Borg *should* have had variable terrain cards to match the variable force cards. Borg's failing isn't a reason for FFG not to fill the gap.

So? Just because it costs money for Undead / Demons / Elves doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile idea. Raise hands, anybody who doesn't want more variety in their games? Why wouldn't BattleLore be more fun with different armies that played differently? Doesn't Kickstarter prove that people will pay money for things that are cool?

The correct conclusion is that FFG was stupid to license Westeros in the first place.
 
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Matthew Popielski
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GrauGeist wrote:
Licensed games like Westeros and StarWars have a clock and a fee. FFG has to recover their fees.


Maximizing the time limit on the Star Wars license is completely understandable. Westeros though isn't. The Game of Thrones boardgame came out a long time ago, but I do agree that is more marketable right now with the HBO tie-in.

On the other hand, seeing the awesome overhaul Descent got recently made me wonder why not do the same thing for BattleLore? If they could reissue it with a streamlined setup process(the main flaw in BattleLore in my opinion), I think they could have another real winner of a product (that is another addictive cash cow). Reducing the number of figures the base game comes with really wouldn't be a detriment to its potential success.
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Christian Gindlesperger
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Battlelore was apparently one of DoW's quickest selling games on its release...hard to believe there's not still a profitable market for the game.

FFG certainly has done the gaming community a service in reprinting classic games that otherwise wouldn't be available to most. They also seem adept at reimagining games that were unwieldy but still well loved (Descent, Runewars, etc.). This gives me hope that we may see a repackaged Battlelore base game sometime in the future, hopefully followed by some backwardly compatible expansions. (If this happens, I wouldn't imagine seeing it for the next year or two--Battles of Westeros will have their attention for te time being.)

In the meantime, it's up to fans to carry the torch I guess--so at least if you're looking for random map generation, check out my method here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/927941/pseudo-random-ter...
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red black wrote:
Game of Thrones isn't even good fantasy. shake

AMEN! The most overrated fantasy franchise in modern times...with so many better fantasy worlds out there deserving of attention!
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Don Whitney
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matt769 wrote:
On the other hand, seeing the awesome overhaul Descent got recently made me wonder why not do the same thing for BattleLore? If they could reissue it with a streamlined setup process(the main flaw in BattleLore in my opinion), I think they could have another real winner of a product (that is another addictive cash cow). Reducing the number of figures the base game comes with really wouldn't be a detriment to its potential success.


This is an interesting point, because Descent 1st ed and its expansions apparently weren't good sellers. I had a false impression of that until a month ago, when a gaming buddy of mine that works in marketing and keeps a finger on the game market pulse told me otherwise. It rumored to be a pet favorite of some exec(s)at FFG. Which might explain some of their attempted crossovers of it with Runebound and Runewars.

I think the money's there at FFG to do a reboot of BL if the contents were equivalent to what's in the BoW core box. I can only speculate, but my guess is that Battlelore's bigger problem at FFG is that there's no one there to champion it. Consequently the execs would rather reskin its play mechanics into a product based on a existing license - i.e. Battles of Westeros. Another interesting point is that BoW apparently isn't much of a seller either, yet FFG has produced 6 expansions for it in just over 2 years.
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dhurtt wrote:

GrauGeist wrote:
- No custom / random Map / Terrain generator to complement Call to Arms.

That wasn't part of Borg's design.


This is actually wrong. Mr. Borg did have some ideas on a random map generator. At least at the time BL was still on DOWs hands.
 
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The all-seeing, all-knowing, all-trollin' Mike Hutton
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Coldwarrior1984 wrote:
Where are the elves?

+1
add to that elves, undead, and demon races.

FFG has been near flawless IMO, but Battlelore just proves the age-old adage......nobodys perfect.

The lone blemish on FFGs track record IMO
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